An old familiar song says that “we need a little Christmas” but the way I see it, we need “a whole lot of Christmas” this year. Christmas creates a sense of wonder in us all, we feel joy at this time of year more than any other. And most importantly, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the one who gave up heaven to come to earth so that he could save us.
Christmas is also the one time of year that even adults are allowed to be kids and that is one reason why personally, I look forward to this season. Here are five others and who knows – you might even find a few of yours mentioned!
Reason #1 Christmas reminds us that we need each other
I don’t know about you, but one of the big reasons I appreciate and enjoy Christmas so much is the shared experience. I love watching holiday movies together, decorating a gingerbread house with my kids, and laughing at the sloppiness of the candy and the icing. Have you ever tried to decorate a gingerbread house by yourself? Not nearly as fun when no one is laughing at your gumdrop as it slides down the roof! Christmas activities were meant to be enjoyed with others. Think about the collective audible countdown when a town lights a Christmas tree. It’s so much fun to join with other voices screaming 3,2,1 as colors burst amongst the branches! Or the beautiful act of holding a candle and reaching out to the person next to you to receive their flame and light yours, then turn to your other side and do the same for the next friend.
Reason #2 Christmas is an excuse to wear bright and sparkly things
I’m a girl – so you know I had to acknowledge the fashion of the season, right? Bright red, bright green, bright gold, and silver! Sparkly sweaters, sequined shoes, bright red bows, and bold red lipstick! In a world that has gone neutral in clothing colors, Christmas is an excuse to get your sparkle on! I’m not one to normally wear red dresses, but I do at Christmas time! People dress up for church, for a trip to the Nutcracker, or out to a holiday party. We throw a big party at our house during the holiday, and when people ask what the dress code is, my husband is known to respond with “snappy Christmas!” Translation: Anything merry and bright. Don your best apparel and fill this world with color!
Reason #3 Christmas is an excuse to be in a good mood
One of my favorite things is to walk around in December and just hear people greet each other. In the grocery store, as you pay for your items, the clerk looks up, and cheerily says, “thank you and Merry Christmas!” I’ve seen countless people readily react to this greeting with a grin responding, “Merry Christmas to you!” Or think about picking up your coffee in the Starbucks drive-thru line. You get to the front and the barista says “Happy Holidays! The person in front of you has just paid for your coffee.” Instant smile! I sometimes head to the mall, with nothing particular to buy, just so I can hear this greeting being exchanged in stores. The words are contagious, and you just want to say them as much as possible.
Reason #4 Christmas gets us thinking of others
In a world that’s fast-paced and can feel self-centered, Christmas time brings an abundance of ideas and reasons to think of others. My kids look forward to the “winter coat drive bin” at our church where we collect coats for people in need. They excitedly start talking about what coats they have in their closet that they can bring and donate. Or what about the bright red Salvation Army buckets we see everywhere? And the jolly bells that are rung by Salvation Army workers next to them? Folks that normally hurry into a store or office building can’t help but stop, dig out a few coins or dollars and drop them in the bucket.
And for my family, my boys have learned that the morning of Christmas Eve means we head to McDonald's, buy some cheeseburgers, and drive around town, finding homeless people we can give them to and say, “Merry Christmas!” This was my good friend Erica’s idea that she does with her kids. It came about from a conversation with her kids when they asked “Does everyone get to celebrate Christmas? Even that homeless person over there?” and Erica came up with this idea because yes, everyone deserves some Christmas cheer. Maybe your church bakes cookies or sings carols for nursing homes. Christmas gets us thinking about others.
Reason #5 Christmas is a time to try new things and appreciate new traditions
One of my all-time favorite things to do at Christmas is to learn about other people’s traditions. What makes the holiday special for them? Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? Does your mom or grandma make a certain dessert? Some people are pumpkin pie fans, others love apple crisps, and some take the plunge and create a yule log cake. My Grandma was known for her marble fudge and pineapple cookies. Every year I try my best to make them as good as she did. Even when I fail, I have fun baking and giving my boys a taste test along the way!
My Bonus Reason is hearing and seeing the way others celebrate this special time of year and that is why that I am so delighted to be hosting the new show "Small Town Christmas." Every quaint locale is different, and it’s wonderful to see all the unique ways we make this holiday special. So come join me this December for "Small Town Christmas" as we celebrate the sounds, the traditions, the tastes, and the wonder of small-town America during the holidays.
Executive Producer and Host Megan Alexander premieres "Small Town Christmas" on Sunday, Dec. 5th at 9 p.m. ET onUPtv, and airs every Sunday night in December.